Friday, June 10, 2011

Breaking the Kitchen Code

Julie P and I spent two days in Paris before heading off to Florence for a few days. 

I made us a reservation at Les Fables de la Fontaine, since this is where we had one of our best and most cherished memories during our trip to France last May.  In many ways, that experience was a big part of the snowball of events that led to me moving here.  But that’s for another day!

Julie started the evening off by waving enthusiastically across the room at the head chef (who I’m positive had no clue who we were) as if we were long lost BFF’s.   

Then I went to the opposite end of the spectrum by breaking some sort of kitchen code and insulting him by ignoring the pecking order in the kitchen.  I went back to say hello to Alberto, the sous-chef, who I’d seen a couple times already since moving here.  The last time when I ate there, Alberto told me I should have come back during dinner to say hello.  Of course, I imagined they would be super busy cooking and it would be all crazy, which is why I had waited till the end of the night.

So I told him when we came in this time, I’d come say hi during the meal.  Well JUST AS I FEARED, when I went back there, there were flames flying, pots and pans banging, it was 1,000 degrees, the head chef shouted “Salut!” (“Hey!”) in what sounded like an annoyed tone, Alberto gave me this panicked look while shaking his head as if to say “Now is a horrible time”, and I just got all nervous and panicked and started speaking to Alberto in French, even though we always speak in English, quickly blurted out in French: “You’re-busy-sorry-justwantedtosayhi”, and I ran out of the kitchen w/out so much as looking at the head chef.   

I found out at the end of the evening that you’re always supposed to address the head chef in the kitchen, not anyone else, so when I didn’t so much as look at him after he said hi and started mumbling to Alberto in my panic of nervousness, I basically ignored him, broke rank, and insulted him in one fail swoop.  How was I supposed to know the rules???  And anyway FLAMES were flying and it was crazy!!

Anyway, the meal was delicious, one of my favorite meals to date.  The first course was a set of basil wrapped prawns lightly fried...

The second course was a melon gazpacho with swordfish topped w/ a carrot foam,

The third course was sole meuniere, asparagus w/ morel mushrooms, and creamy buttery whipped potatoes from heaven...

and the dessert was a wasabi white chocolate something or other that sounds weird but was delicious. Clearly we ate it too fast to even think about taking a picture. 

The fish & asparagus were cooked perfectly, the potatoes, as mentioned, were butter heaven…it was just all around outstanding.  Julie and I just stared in disbelief and made intelligent commentary like “wow” and “oh my gosh” over and over.  We should be food critics. 

We spent our two mornings at cafes w/ croissants & coffees, wandered cute streets, and stayed up way later than this old lady is accustomed to.  It was a blast!  Then we went to Florence…coming up next!

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